GENERAL FIRST WORLD WAR RESOURCES
This page contains links to material about the First World War (WW1) not tied to one country or area of conflict. In making this selection I have chosen a limited number of what I think are key sites. They are either an excellent source of information in their own right, or are the best gateways to other sites and resources about the war. For more specific resources see either COUNTRIES or BATTLES.
The International Encyclopedia of the First World War has one of the best guides to other first world war sites.
First World War.com is an excellent general site. Although the site’s author, Michael Duffy, warns that it shouldn’t be relied upon for accuracy, it is generally extremely good, particularly for its transcriptions of original documents and materials covering a wide range of topics.
The Long, Long Trail’s Great War Forum is the most popular on the web and a mine of information about almost every aspect of the war.
Digital 14–18 is a blog by historian Otto Vervaart that has a lot of good links to digital projects and resources concerning the First World War.
World War One Centenary – Continuations and Beginnings, an Oxford University site, focuses on ‘ lesser taught areas of the War’ and as such has some interesting material and links to some useful resources. It also contains numerous examples of hilarious/awful academic writing, which alone make a visit worthwhile.
The World War 1 Documents Archive hasn’t been updated for quite a while but still has a wide range of transcribed documents ranging from an original first world war Salvation Army recipe for doughnuts to the text of the Peace Treaty of Versailles.
Europeana 1914–1918 is a major project which ‘mixes resources from libraries and archives across the globe with memories and memorabilia from families throughout Europe.’ There is a huge amount of valuable material available, but with no apparent guide as to what they hold, finding things can at times resemble searching through a dog’s breakfast. (I have included it because of the vast amount of material it theoretically provides access to.)
Foreign Governments and Military Documents is a useful guide, produced by Purdue University Library in the US, to online sources for some, non-US, official first world war document sources.
Archive.org provides free access to digitised copies of millions of books, many about the First World War. The online reader is fast and easy to use and their search engine is very accurate. PDFs of the original books can also be downloaded. Because they use machines to translate the books into other formats such as Epub and Kindle these versions can be error-strewn, but otherwise it’s a brilliant site.
Project Gutenberg have a much smaller collection than Archive.org, but their books have all been proofread by people, so the Kindle and Epub versions are error free.
The Hathi Digitial Trust has digitised millions of books, many about the First World War. The site is spoilt slightly by having a slow, clunky online reader and poor search engine compared to Archive.org. That quibble aside, it has an extremely good collection of material.
The First World War Studies Bibliography, put together by the International Society for First World War Studies, has over 3,000 items listed which are broken down into useful categories. It is probably the most comprehensive on the web. Sadly it is not annotated, but some items, mainly journal articles, do have abstracts.
GUIDES TO ONLINE FIRST WORLD WAR BOOKS [top]
The Online Books Page provided by the University of Pennsylvania has a guide to a considerable number of online first world war books.
Project Gutenberg has as useful guide to the first world war books in their collection.
The World War 1 Documents Archive list of many diaries and personal reminiscences from the war which are available online.
The British Library Electronic Theses Online Service provides access to thousands of publicly funded Ph.Ds. Registration is required to download theses, but this is free. There are over one hundred theses about the First World War. If a thesis has not been digitised but was publicly funded you can request that it be digitised. This will generally take 30 day.s
Index to Theses provides another way of accessing the material with abstracts (but not full-text) to over British 355,000 theses.
Finding Australian Theses is an online guide produced by Council of Australian University Librarians. Previously all Australian theses had been available through one system. Now they are either available through Trove or through individual institutions. The guide clearly explains the best way to find what you are looking for.
Theses Canada, provided by Library and Archives Canada, provides free access to thousands of Ph.D theses produced in Canada and voluntarily deposited by individual institutions.
The New Zealand Educational Theses Database has links to full-text theses from New Zealand universities.
WW1 Maps and Aerial Photography is the best online collection of war maps. Provided by McMaster University, Canada, the site has over 400 detailed contemporary maps and 500 aerial photographs of the Western Front. High resolution images allow zooming to reveal very small details.
British Army WW1 Trenchmaps is a very good guide to reading and understanding the maps produced by the British army during the war.
The Great War as Interpreted in Magazine Articles, 1914–1918, is a site edited by J. Fred MacDonald in which he has compiled and transcribed an important collection of contemporary magazine articles from all around the world about the war. A fascinating collection and well worth a visit.
The British Pathé World War 1 Collection is a vast collection of First World War footage all available to view online at no cost. The material they hold covers many different aspects of the war.
The European Film Gateway is another fantastic source of original footage bringing together digitised film from major European film archives holding First World War material.